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Tillamook’s airport playground promotes brandTillamook’s airport playground promotes brand

Play area to educate PNW travelers about regional icon.

Tim Hearden

June 2, 2023

3 Min Read
Tillamook-themed playground
A new play area at the Portland International Airport in Oregon highlights products from the Tillamook County Creamery Association.TCCA

A new interactive playground at the Portland International Airport is educating Pacific Northwest travelers and visitors to one of the region’s iconic brands – Oregon’s Tillamook County Creamery Association.

The 608-square-foot PDX Play Area – designed, built and given to the airport by TCCA – offers a diversion for families awaiting flights in the airport's recently expanded Concourse E.

A kids’ climbing area leads to replicas of Tillamook ice cream cartons and other products atop a life-sized, winged Yum Bus – the brand’s signature retrofitted bus – which doubles as a slide. An accompanying mural shows Tillamook brands and includes QR codes that visitors can scan for more information.

The attraction opened in time for Memorial Day weekend travel. Tillamook has already been operating a store at the Portland airport since 2020.

“While travelers from across the country may know us for our award-winning products, we hope that the PDX Play Area and Tillamook Market will share our complete story,” said Kate Boltin, TCCA’s vice president of brand marketing. She cited the cooperative’s more than 110-year history and the “pride that our makers have for turning the finest ingredients into delicious, high-quality products.”

The airport playground debuts amid Tillamook’s recent strategy to gain name recognition outside of the West Coast. The brand is now in every U.S. state with Costco, Walmart, Target and Kroger, and hopes its burgeoning reputation for sustainability will help it increase distribution.

Related:Spreading success: Tillamook rakes in awards

"With the airport context in mind, we playfully turned our Yum Bus into a Yum Jet to show how we spread Tillamook products and joy across the nation,” said Paige Yim, Tillamook’s senior manager of brand experiences and strategic initiatives. “We were deliberate in creating a moment that everyone of all ages and abilities could enjoy, from families to friend groups to business travelers."

Awards and partnerships

The playground’s opening caps off a busy first half of 2023 for the Oregon-based dairy cooperative. Earlier this year, Tillamook netted six awards in the biennial U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, including a sweep of first, second and third place in the championships’ Spreadable Natural Cheese category with three different flavors of the co-op’s popular Farmstyle Cream Cheese Spread.

Tillamook has long marketed its food products on their high-quality ingredients. For instance, its ice cream uses more cream and less air than the industry standard with no artificial flavors or sweeteners, no synthetic colors and no high fructose corn syrup.

Related:Partners help Tillamook promote local food

The cooperative is also continuing its quest for greater environmental stewardship, recently announcing a partnership with an Oregon retailer to establish a native riparian forest habitat on coastal farmland.

The TCCA and New Seasons Market will each provide $15,000 to plant about five acres of native, woody vegetation on dairy farms within the cooperative in the Tillamook, Ore., area. The companies also announced they’re applying for a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to fund additional restoration.

The TCCA in 2020 gained status as a Certified B Corporation, a key certification and third-party endorsement for its work on stewardship. A B Corporation recognizes stewardship in a range of areas, including environment-friendly practices animal welfare and ethical treatment of workers. New Seasons Market also has this certification.

Tillamook took another step in its sustainability journey last year by committing to the dairy industry’s net-zero climate goals by 2050, including achieving greenhouse gas neutrality, optimizing water use efficiency while maintaining recycling, and improving water quality by optimizing use of manure and nutrients.

TCCA partnered with Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig to design the airport play area, which was built on flooring manufactured with 78% recycled rubber, according to the cooperative.

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